Foxconn plans small affordable car in India or SE Asia
The Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn wants to produce a new, small electric car in India or Thailand. The all-electric three-seater should cost between 10,000 and 20,000 dollars (9,160 – 18,320 euros), mainly targeting corporate customers in Asia.
Jack Cheng, head of Foxconn’s 2020 electric car platform MIH, told Reuters the small car is currently under development and will be based on the MIH platform. Advance talks are in progress with store franchises, car rental companies and courier services.
Foxconn plans to unveil a prototype at the Tokyo Motor Show in October. Some 18 to 24 months later, production is expected to begin in India or Thailand around the second half of 2025. After that, Foxconn plans two more electric models – a six-seater and a nine-seater.
If Foxconn decides against India and in favour of Thailand as a production location, PTT could be a possible partner for production. Foxconn is already collaborating with the Thai energy company on a joint venture for the production of electric cars in Thailand, established in 2021.
Smaller cars are best suited to densely populated areas like inner cities anywhere and many areas of Asia, home to 60 per cent of the global population but only 30 per cent of the global land mass. In China, the joint venture between General Motors, SAIC and Wuling has been wildly successful with its MiniEV. Legacy companies such as Mitsubishi and Daimler are having to rethink their strategies in China, citing space and weight as major issues. After selling like hotcakes in China, the Wuling MiniEV is now headed for India.
India and South East Asia are similarly densely populated and represent some of the world’s largest markets. Here, two and three-wheelers are more common than cars, and size does matter on busy streets with little space.
“You build where the potential market is…In India or Southeast Asia, you have a huge volume opportunity right now,” Cheng told Reuters, calling India a potential “emerging power for the next generation” in the EV sector. And Cheng should know. He’s a mover and shaker in the electric car space, as he was a co-founder of Chinese EV maker NIO and headed Fiat’s joint venture in China before joining Foxconn.
The Foxconn executive is talking about moving fast with mass markets. When talking to Reuters, he mentioned Tesla’s production facility in Shanghai and how quickly that scaled up.
“I’m building another Shanghai, probably in India,” Cheng declared. “If this is a Foxconn plant, fantastic, it’s the mother company, we put it into the Foxconn plant. If this is a local India plant and it’s even more competitive, give it to the India plant.”
While Western car companies struggle to shed weight from their oversized electric cars, Reuters reports that analysts have said that now is the time for new EV entrants to hit these markets before established automakers and startups ramp up their own production of cars that prioritise lower cost, and lower use of energy and space.